Frequently Asked Questions: A Guide to Pronouns in Use for Students

Starting Summer 2024, students can register their pronouns using the You@Columbia option available and integrated with CourseWorks. You can share your pronouns with faculty, teaching staff, and classmates for all available courses. 

 (*Note: You@Columbia is only available within courses. If you do not currently have any courses on your CourseWorks homepage, you will need to wait for your courses to be added)

How to register your pronouns:

  • Open a Safari, Chrome, or Firefox web browser.
  • Log into CourseWorks.
  • Find the “You@Columbia” link on the left-hand navigation of your CourseWorks/Canvas course. CourseWorks will ask if you authorize the use of this tool. This is standard for all CourseWorks tools when being used for the first time. Click “Authorize.” Note: You are welcome to record your name in addition to registering your pronouns at this point in the process; however, recording your name is not required after registering your pronouns.
  • Click the “Let’s Begin” button and you will be directed to the pronoun selection screen. 
  • You will have the option to select your name as a pronoun and/or to select all of the pronouns that apply to you.
  • When you're done, click "Save” and then “Next.” You will be directed to the name recording screen. If you wish, you may add a recording of your name by allowing your browser to use the built-in microphone on your device, and following the prompts. Otherwise, press “Skip this step.”
  • You will have the opportunity to review your information. To make any changes, click “Update Pronouns.”

These are the pronouns that students use and want their faculty and classmates to use when referring to them.

This may be particularly useful for those students who do not identify as men and women or by the gendered pronouns found in many languages. For example, many gender non-binary students use gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them/theirs or use multiple pronouns, for example, she/her/hers and they/them/theirs.

Students who have gender-neutral names may also find this option useful.

A person's pronouns are shared to avoid assumptions about how someone would like to be referred to in the third person. Everyone has pronouns and everyone benefits from the normalization of sharing our pronouns because it interrupts gender stereotyping and expectations. In addition, explicitly sharing pronouns can facilitate communication for people with gender neutral names and whose native language is unfamiliar to faculty and classmates.

You can enter your gender pronouns on your LawNet profile.

Within Courseworks, students can select from these options:

  • She/Her/Hers
  • He/Him/His
  • They/Them/Theirs
  • Ze/Hir/Hirs
  • Ze/Zem/Zirs
  • Use my name as my pronoun
  • Option to Write in Your Pronouns

You can register or update your pronouns at any time during the semester using the same process as your initial registration. Faculty will not be notified of this change, so students who register their pronouns mid-semester should inform their instructors of the change. There is no limit to how many times a student can update their pronouns.

Once you register your pronouns in a course, they will appear in the “Your Info” and “Class Info.” Your pronouns will be visible to the faculty, teaching staff, and classmates of the courses that you are enrolled in.

Your parents (or emergency contacts) will not see this information, nor will it appear on your transcript. You will only have to register your pronoun and name recording once for all courses you are enrolled in.

We are working to create as inclusive a space as possible, and we know that it can be frustrating to see your pronouns incorrectly listed. Please write to the CourseWorks team at [email protected] and someone from the team will respond to you within 1-2 business days.

Learning to use the correct pronouns can sometimes take time, and mistakes may happen. The registration of pronouns in use is a new option in You@Columbia, and University Life and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action are available to assist students, faculty and staff in navigating this new option. The Center for Teaching and Learning is also a resource for faculty who are working to develop teaching practices that recognize issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.